DENVER, Colo. — Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee will be honored at the 35th Annual Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame Awards banquet at Denver’s Marriott Tech Center Hotel on March 8. “Suzy deserves the ‘Pioneer Award’ for birthing freestyle skiing, Title 1X and inspiring ski areas to share the joy of skiing with tribal youth,” said Joan Birkland, executive director. “Suzy got world headlines in their silver suit as America’s top downhiller in the 68 Grenoble Olympics. From a dream as a child ballerina, she went on to invent ski ballet, launch Colgate Women’s Freestyle, introduce the sport on the Tonight Show, become 3X World Freestyle Champion, and qualify freestyle to be an Olympic Sport.
Olympian Ann Taylor of Denver/Vail, Suzy’s mentor, encouraged her to further spice up the sport. Skiing with President Ford in Vail, thanks to his photographer, David Kennerly, resulted in Ford’s ad man, impressed with her activism, dreaming up the “Suzy Chapstick” commercials that put fun into American fitness. Starring in Bogner’s hit, “Fire & Ice,” Baryshnikov called her ski ballet gift “fun, imaginative with lovely lines.”
Chaffee credits DU in 1974-5, for being the catalyst for all her pioneering. “After promising me training, I wasn’t allowed to ride in the team car to the mountains because I didn’t have ‘male equipment,'” she said, “nor get a ski scholarship. So I hitchhiked 60 miles.”
“Fortunately, Mammoth Mountain’s Dave McCoy offered me coaching to get my Olympic Dream,” she said.
Through her Olympic mom, Stevia, Suzy realized girls/moms get families healthy and kids to the Olympics, so she gladly led for PE Teachers of America in 1975, the Title 1X DC March for Equal Opportunity for WomenSports in schools. Then set up the White House meeting for Billy Jean King (Cherokee), Donna DeVarona and WSF lawyers to get it enforced. Enlightening Senator Ted Kennedy and President George Bush Sr to put it under their wings, has resulted in women saving America a trillion in healthcare and welfare.
Her contributions to equal opportunities in sports and life to millions of girls, after being denied even a ride, a fan called Chaffee, “the Rosa Parks of WomenSports.”
Thanks to a grant by fellow Olympians to ensure future generations can ski, after tribal snowdances saved many ski areas from droughts, Suzy founded Telluride’s “Ute Future Olympians program” in 1996. It snowballed across America evolving into Chaffee and Steamboat’s Billy Kidd (Abenaki) helping develop Olympic Hopefuls through the Native American Olympic Team Foundation. NAOTF is a Colorado 501(c)3, whose mission is “creating joyful unity through sports to heal Mother Earth for all children, including through Olympic participation” (see www.snow-riders.org).
“Empowering others is the ultimate high, why I honor the Sportswomen of Colorado supporters for cheering on this new crop of stunning Rocky Mt champions,” said Chaffee. Her green leadership, further impassioned by a brush with cancer, inspired Vermont Country Store to co-create a 95-percent organic “Suzy Chaffee Naturals” lip balm, “…to Ski in More Harmony with Nature.” Special thanks to Neotrope’s Send2Press.com.
[tags]skier Suzy Chaffee[/tags]